Chapter One - part two
Another snap in the shadowy cover proved there was someone approaching. Gravellia didn’t like carrying a weapon but she’d grabbed her revolver on her way out of the office without even considering why.
Since, she’d resigned from the police force she’d stopped carrying a gun. Normally it was nothing but a paperweight in her locked gun case. But, tonight, something felt off. She had no idea what the hell was up. Maybe she shouldn’t have taken that envelope of much needed cash for a simple one-night stakeout when it didn’t feel right. This gig reeked to the sky, but her curiosity got the better of her. Now, she wanted to know what was going on here.
Yeah, she was packing tonight, and now with some clumsy oaf trying to sneak up on her, she hoped she wouldn’t have to use it.
She slipped around the trunk of the large tree and pointed her revolver at the shadowy figure in front of her. “Who are you, and why the hell are you following me?”
“Holy shit, Gravellia! Don’t point that thing at me. Is it really loaded?” the familiar teen aged voice said breathlessly.
A long stream of silent curses echoed inside Gravellia’s head. Had to be silent, because she never swore in front of her niece, Verbie. “Verbena Ward, I told you to stay at home tonight. You shouldn’t be here,” she hissed. “It could be dangerous.”
Worse, If Verbena could find her this easily, had she been spotted by whomever she was supposed to be watching. Is that why the lights remained out in the house she was watching? They’d spotted her?
Her shoulders slumped and she felt like kicking something.
Verbie huffed a dramatic sigh. “Believe me, I’d rather be at home Aunt Gravellia.”
“But…?” Gravellia shoved the revolver back into her holster and flicked a quick glance at the bungalow still in total darkness.
“But, I’m doing a report on you for my final world studies class.”
“Verbie, what the hell….” She bit her lip against the unwanted curse. “What in heaven’s name are you talking about?”
“I’m supposed to job shadow a local business person. It’s worth half of my class mark, Auntie. If I don’t do this, I’ll fail.” Her eyes flashed in the darkness. “And mom won’t be very happy if I fail.”
Garvellia pursed her dry lips. “You can’t use your mother as a threat, Verbie. She can’t manipulate me the way she does other people. Now, you go home and we’ll talk about this when I get back.” Damn it, she shouldn’t have said that to Jo-ann’s daughter. But the kid was savvy. Maybe more savvy than she should be at thirteen.
Verbena’s head lowered and Gravellia felt a weight in the pit of her stomach. Damn it, the poor kid got shifted from relative to relative whenever her mother found a new boyfriend and flew off to God-only-knew-where. The kid needed stability. Someone she could rely on.
Verbena had already started stumbling her way back out of the stand of trees. “Verbie. You can shadow me, okay. But not tonight. Not on stakeout. Tomorrow, you and I will go to my office and put in a full day. How’s that sound?”
“Boring,” the teenager said. “This is the exciting stuff.”
An engine roared down the street and a car lurched into the driveway of the dark bungalow. Several men got out of the SUV. Light went on inside and curtains were instantly drawn.
“Go home, now, Verbie. This is NOT the place for you to be.”
........ continued in one week